I’m sitting on the train and lacking all energy. Why is it always the night before a big day that you can’t sleep? I just can’t seem to slow my mind down and shut off while in bed when I know that I have 8 million things to do and places to go in the morning. So what should I do now that it is already morning and I am terribly tired?
Well chocolate is helping me gain back some energy levels but that may not be the best solution (although the most delicious!). So in between nibbles of chocolate I’m practicing a combination of two very energizing Pranyama breathing exercises. Ujjayi and Surya Bhedana.
Ujjayi is also known as breath of fire, ocean breath or Darth Vader breath because it sounds like all of those things! By constricting the back of our throats and directing the breath there while inhaling and exhaling through the nose, we can warm up our breath before it even enters the body, so that it enters the lungs already full of energy. We use a full yogic breath while practicing ujjayi and most other pranyama breathing exercises (see previous post for full yogic breath). This warm, hissing breath is used before energetic and fast paced yoga classes. The actual sound of the breath allows us to stay focused on our breathing, helping our minds not to wander. By simply using this technique as I sit here I can feel an immediate awakening and warming effect. Pretty incredible I thought.
Surya Bhedana is also very powerful as it awakens our Yang side. Everyone’s heard of Yin and Yang but do we know what it means? Well Yin and Yang are the 2 sides of everything that have polar opposite energy. Let’s make a chart…
So you see the difference. By practicing right nostril breathing we awaken the more active side of all of us, the Yang. We simply take out right hand in Mrigi mudra (placing our index and middle fingers at the base of our thumb) closing our left nostril with our ring finger and we inhale through the right nostril. After a full yogic inhale we close our right nostril with our thumb and exhale through the left. Repeat by inhaling again through the right nostril and continue on this way for 5 to 10 full rounds. It is the inhale through the right nostril that activates the Yang and starts to give our bodies this active energy.
Give these two breathing methods a try the next time you’re feeling low on energy and let me know what subtle energy differences you feel!
My day is looking up and I hope yours is too,